The measles outbreaks we saw in California earlier this year may have had an unintended benefit.
Immunize Nevada reports vaccination rates for the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine – commonly known as the MMR vaccine – are up almost 25 percent compared to this time last year.
Heidi Parker, executive director of Immunize Nevada, a health advocacy group told KNPR's State of Nevada the attention brought by the outbreak was a call to action.
"Anytime there is increased awareness about a situation, especially an outbreak situation, it does cause people to stop and pay attention," Parker said.
Parker is concerned that it took an outbreak of a potentially serious disease to draw attention to vaccinations.
"We need to pay attention all year around not just when we're concerned about what's happening next door in another state," Parker said.
She points out that exposure to a vaccine-preventable disease can happen at anytime, which is why parents should make sure their children are up to date.
Parker said her group will continue to push out factual information about the importance of immunizations and their safety.
"Vaccines are proven time and time again to be safe, effective, continual monitored and tested and it's one thing parents shouldn't have to worry about," she said.
Parker told KNPR's State of Nevada that although it was unfortunate that so many people became ill in the outbreak, the silver lining was that it opened the door to conversations about importance of vaccines.
Immunize Nevada is hoping they'll see an increase in the number of vaccinations for other diseases as well.
Heidi Parker, executive director, Immunize NV
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